393 U.S. 97
Susan Epperson et al., Appellants,
No. 7.
Supreme Court of the United States
Argued Oct. 16, 1968.
Decided Nov. 12, 1968.

Kristen Whitley

Seth Jacobs

Susan Epperson was a biology teacher in Little Rock, Arkansas where a new textbook and standard was adopted which required her to teach about evolution. However, a law that was made forty years prior prohibited her from teaching the material. Epperson was not opposed to teaching the material but would be in violation of Arkansas state law if she did. She, along with H.H. Blanchard (a parent at the school), filed suit to test the constitutionality of the anti-evolution statute. She wanted the law nullified.

Decision and Rationale:
The Chancery Court ruled that the statute violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The case also stated the statute was unconstitutional because, in violation of the First Amendment, it 'tends to hinder the quest for knowledge, restrict the freedom to learn, and restrain the freedom to teach. State law cannot prohibit “an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Chancery Court.

Impact on Teaching:
As educators, we must teach what the curriculum requires but we must do so in a neutral manner. We may be teaching on touchy issues such as evolution and/or creation and it’s okay but we must teach the text book, not our opinion. We can teach these things as long as we teach the facts, not whether they are true or not.


Which amendment was violated during the Epperson v. Arkansas case?
14th Amendment